son-of-a-stag

Jealousy Pt. 2

Catelyn

Catelyn watched as her youngest daughter crossed swords with the bastard boy she’d brought home with her. Years ago, Catelyn had watched as Ned left her to go fight a war; he came back with his own bastard boy. Now Arya had followed in his footsteps; only this boy was so much more dangerous because he wanted to take Arya from her again. Catelyn had already lost her once and didn’t intend on losing her again.

Catelyn had begged her husband to send the bull boy away, just as she had when he’d brought the Snow boy back with him back then. It hadn’t worked, then or now. Worse, the first boy, it turned out, had not been a bastard but the Targaryen heir to the Iron Throne. He ruled Westeros now, his dragon queen beside him. And this second boy turned out to be the son of a king as well, though a stag, not a dragon.

Instead of sending the boy away, Ned had given him his blessing. Now, Catelyn had to watch, silently, as Arya and the boy, Gendry he was called, grew closer and closer, like to be married one day if Arya would allow it.

Catelyn watched as her daughter and the smith crossed swords on a daily basis, her brothers sometimes joining in a mêlée. She watched as they rode out on horseback for days or weeks at a time, returning with laughter on their lips, Arya claiming they’d been outlaws while gone. She watched as Arya rode Rhaegal, the new king’s dragon, for the first time, the smith, her constant companion, astride behind her. Catelyn watched as Arya grew older, taller and more beautiful than even her aunt before her while the boy grew taller, stronger and more handsome than his father before him.

Catelyn sighed in frustration as she watched her daughter do the only kind of dancing she’d ever permitted be taught to her: sword fighting. And in breeches made for men no less. Granted Catelyn wasn’t sure you could fight in a dress. Catelyn wouldn’t know. Cat couldn’t fight, though she’d wished many times over, during the war, that she could.

Cat had tried countless times to get her daughter to wear dresses since she’d come back, but the war had changed Arya. Everything she’d gone through, that smith at her side the entire time, had changed her drastically, made her so much more wild than she’d been before. Cat heard rumors, some she didn’t want to believe. Her daughter had been a boy, a servant, an outlaw, a knight, an assassin, a warrior, but never a lady, no, never a princess.

Catelyn thought on all this and more later as she headed towards her daughter’s chambers. The dragon queen had arrived earlier in the day astride Drogon, the largest and fiercest of the three beasts. The king sent his blessings but couldn’t be in attendance for Sansa’s name day feast; there was trouble in the Dornish waters, the Queen said, though atop Rhaegal, the king would likely soon put the matter to rest. Catelyn was determined to make a lady of her daughter for at least a day. Arya wouldn’t like it, but she’d have to dress in something finer than Bran’s old torn breeches to host the Queen.

Approaching the door, which was slightly cracked open, Catelyn saw candlelight flickering within the chambers. She heard voices coming from within.

Her daughter was arguing with someone. A man. Catelyn knew with a certainty who.

“It would please your lady mother,” the smith said gruffly in a commanding tone no one usually dare use with her youngest daughter.

“No it won’t,” Arya argued back. Catelyn watched the sliver between the door and the wall, as shadows passed back and forth in the room. “It would please her if I acted the lady. Forcing me into a dress won’t make me one.”

The smith snorted. “No, nothin’ will.” Then a moment later: “Ow!” The smith exclaimed. Catelyn would have berated her daughter for attacking the smith, but she didn’t want to admit she’d been eavesdropping and was secretly pleased Arya wasn’t afraid to defend herself, even if it wasn’t for a very good reason. Cat had no love for the boy but knew he spoke in jest.

“I’d much rather go out riding and draw out those robbers still living in the wolfswood,” her daughter, much to Cat’s shock, told the smith, “or visit Thoros and them.” Arya’s voice took on a pleading tone, and Cat saw the shadows meet, knowing that meant the two stood close to one another. Cat was startled to hear her daughter so blatantly admit what it was they did when they were gone for three or four turns of the moon. Granted the two didn’t know they were being listened to.

“And them?” Irritation painted the smith’s voice. “You mean Dayne, don’t you?” The boy said almost haughtily.

“Stupid,” Cat could almost hear her daughter rolling her eyes. “You know I don’t care even a little about seeing Ned bloody Dayne. You just want to hear me say it.”

There was a smile in the smith’s voice when he spoke. “Doesn’t stop you from being pleased to see him every time we go.” He teased, though a hint of jealousy still plagued his tone.

Arya sighed. “You know very well I only like going to be free with you and Nymeria at my side at all hours of the day with no one telling us what we can and can’t do.” Arya’s tone was unnaturally tender.

“Once the Queen goes home,” the smith promised in a soothing voice. Cat heard then what was undoubtedly a kiss.

Cat was too shocked about everything she was hearing to grow angry at the audacity of the bastard for kissing her daughter while alone together in her chambers.

“Fine.” Arya begrudgingly allowed. “But I’m not wearing a dress, not to please my mother. It’s time she accepts me as I am.”

Although Arya’s tone had permitted no room for argument, the smith spoke out anyway, but his voice was softer and smoother than it’d been the entire time. “It would please me, m’lady.”

Catelyn was sure Arya would lash out again, knowing the term was an endearment the boy used to tease her, not as a courtesy. So she was surprised when Arya remained silent before she heard what was undoubtedly another kiss.

“Just. This. Once.” Arya spoke impatiently now through gritted teeth. “But not the blue one.”

Catelyn watched as the smith’s shadow crossed towards Arya’s wardrobe. “Oh yes, the blue one.” He argued, with a smile in his voice.

It was high time, Catelyn decided, that she leave, elsewise she’d be discovered. As she rounded the corner of the corridor, Cat could hear the two still bickering, arguing and mayhaps even wrestling over a dress. Cat only hoped they didn’t tear the poor garment. It had been a gift from the Queen.

Catelyn felt bewildered and distraught. She had been sure Arya would refuse the boy’s request as vehemently as she refused Catelyn’s imploring time and time again. But Arya had caved. And what was worse, the boy had made the request on Catelyn’s behalf. What was he playing at? Trying to win her favor? Her daughter in a dress would hardly make the boy any less a bastard.

Still, Catelyn could tell her own feelings towards the boy, while still harsh, had somewhat softened. Somehow, despite who he was, he was good for her daughter. Ned insisted that was so, but until now, Catelyn hadn’t truly believed him, despite the number of stories she’d heard of their time together all over Westeros and Braavos. If the tales were to be believed. Arya hardly talked about those times with anyone other than the smith, so Catelyn couldn’t be sure.

Catelyn pondered upon this all again later at the feast. She was pleasantly surprised to see that her daughter had donned the blue dress after all, gifted to Arya by their guest. Daenerys made note of it when greeting Arya. Catelyn was surprised to see that the Queen greeted the smith more warmly than she had before. She was sure that was the king’s doing. The two bastards had taken immensely kindly to one another.

Catelyn’s eyes kept drifting back to the two where they sat side-by-side at the high table. Ned insisted the boy be allowed a place at their own table. If not for the boy, Ned claimed, they might have only the one daughter in place of the two. Catelyn had been deaf to those words before. Now…she couldn’t ignore what must be the truth in them.

After the dancing had begun, Cat watched as the smith stood and held out a hand to her daughter. They were too far for her to hear the words that they spoke, but Cat knew a request to dance when she saw one. Surprise graced Cat’s features once more that day. If the smith could dance, this was news to her. Cat almost smiled when her daughter shook her pretty little head in a most undignified manner and slapped the smith’s hand away. Of course the girl wouldn’t get up and dance with him in front of all these people. She refused every lesson Cat offered her in the art, both before and after the war. Even if Arya could dance, Cat was sure she wouldn’t. Not even for the smith.

The smith leaned over and whispered in Arya’s ear. For what seemed like the thousandth time that day, Cat’s eyes widened in astonishment when her daughter stood and took the smith’s hand. She did so rudely and gracelessly but did it all the same.

What was more, Arya could dance. Not well but not so horribly either. And the smith matched her every step. He was quite tall and so heavily muscled, it was difficult to see how he managed to dance with any grace. When the two messed up the steps to one particular dance, they began to laugh unbecomingly. Cat was relieved to see the Queen was laughing as well. So was Sansa.

So why did Cat feel so sad? She stood and swept out of the great hall. She went to the only place, other than Ned’s arms, where she could quickly find peace. But now she circled the sept in confusion. Should she pray to the Warrior? They were both warriors now, weren’t they? Should she pray to the Smith? The thought of doing so didn’t sit well with Cat. The Maiden? No, though Arya was clearly so in love with the boy, she didn’t love like a maiden; she loved like a warrior.

It was Ned who found Cat kneeling before the Crone. He smiled knowingly when he offered a hand to help her up. They walked back towards their chambers in silence.

“Have we lost her?” Catelyn didn’t recognize her voice, hollow as it was.

Ned grimaced. “No, love. We’ve found her.” His voice promised her.

Days later, Catelyn found Arya in her chambers and almost dropped the garments she’d been carrying in shock. Though dirty and tangled in breeches and tunic as ever, Arya sat cross legged on her bed, needlepoint in hand. Arya shoved her work behind her back before Cat could see what she’d been working on.

“Mother.” Her voice a combination of surprise and irritation.

“Sweet Arya,” Cat’s face played at a smile. Finding her daughter doing something she so adamantly refused to do in the past brought some unknown peace to Cat.

“What is that?” Arya gestured to the clothes draped over Catelyn’s arms.

Catelyn approached the bed and spread the garments out in front of Arya so she could clearly see them. “If you will insist on dressing in breeches, darling, I insist they at least be comely.”

Arya ran her small hands over the soft silky clothing. There were several pairs of breeches and tunics, all in the same shape Arya was used to wearing; only, the materials were softer and more feminine, the colors grays and blues and purples.

Arya looked strangely pleased and flushed. She hopped up, but not before tucking her needlework unceremoniously under a pile of pillows, and wrapped her arms gently around her mother and pressed a kiss to her cheeks. “Thank you.” Arya said, all courtesy and grace.

Cat was glad the gift pleased her daughter and only rued the day that would come when Arya managed to rip and stain these clothes too. Still, more of the garments could always be made, Cat supposed.

It was a blustery but warm day a few turns of the moon later when Cat found out what Arya had been so quick to hide from her.

Cat hadn’t meant to eavesdrop again, but the smith could so often be found near Arya that it was hard to avoid. This time, the two were alone in a sitting room used by the family, in between the wings of the castle where they lived.

“I have something for you,” Catelyn could hear her daughter’s voice clearly from around the corner.

“For me?” The smith’s voice, pleasantly surprised but also threatening to tease.

“Don’t,” Arya’s voice warned, “or I’ll toss it into the fire.”

The smith only laughed, and it sounded like they grappled over a package wrapped in paper. The smith seemed to have won. Catelyn heard the clear sound of something being unwrapped. She heard her daughter’s pacing footsteps.

“If you don’t like it,” Arya’s voice was uncharacteristically uncertain and pained. “I can have someone else make a true one for you. I was never good at needlework- well, not this kind. Only…” She paused, truly sounding pained now. “I wanted it to be me who made you something, not Mother or Sansa.”

The boy’s breathing was low and slow but the unmistakable sound of his heavy footsteps from the chair toward Arya’s voice echoed down the corridor.

“Well, I don’t care if you don’t like it-“ Arya was snapping at him. Only to be silenced by a kiss from the smith. Cat didn’t hear them surface for a time.

“I love it.” The smith finally spoke, his voice low and rough. “It’s beautiful. Don’t you dare burn it.” His voice a growl now.

Cat knew she’d overstayed a conversation too long again now. Her steps back up the corridor were hopefully imperceptible.

She should have known, she thought, as she entered her warm chambers. Needlework, not for needlework itself, but for him. Jealously flashed unbidden through Cat’s heart, and she was surprised at herself. She’d only felt this one other time. And that had been when she realized that Arya, a tiny girl of five or six, was bonding closely with the bastard boy Snow, more so than Cat had ever managed to bond with her own daughter.

The next morning dawned bright and early when Catelyn joined her family in the small solar to break their fast. She was unsurprised to see the smith. But she was surprised to see the tunic he donned. In place of his usual neat white or gray tunic, he wore a black one on which was crookedly sewn the likeness of a bull in gold thread. Cat’s eyes found her daughter’s. Arya was watching her anxiously. Catelyn smiled brightly, and the girl returned the smile in kind.

Cat didn’t know why for true that it was that moment that she chose to believe the smith, Gendry, loved her daughter more than Catelyn had ever witness a person love another. He donned the tunic proudly where another man might have felt foolish. There was a threat in his eyes, daring anyone to say anything, to criticize. Catelyn sent him grudging respect with her own eyes and saw the most imperceptible nod from him.

She spoke to him later that same day when Arya wasn’t around to protect him, though Cat didn’t see why her daughter thought this large man needed protecting.

“You won’t go anywhere without her, will you?” Catelyn asked him bluntly.

“No, my lady.” Gendry’s tone was crisp and respectful, his eyes softer than they usually were.

“If you thought it best for her if you did…” Catelyn trailed off.

The smith – Gendry considered this for a long moment. “It wouldn’t be.” He said decisively. “She’d kill me.” There was laughter in his tone, and Cat couldn’t help the smile that crept over her lips.

“You mean to marry my daughter.” It wasn’t a question.

Gendry shook his head anyway. “I mean to do whatever she would have of me.”

Catelyn both pursed her lips and smiled sweetly. “Arya always did a find a way to get what she couldn’t have.”

“Yes, my lady.” Gendry agreed.

That night, Catelyn did something she’d never done before and sat down in her solar at her writing table to pen a letter to the king.

“Are you ashamed of your father?” Aerys asks.

“I am angry. Shame has naught to do with it,” Tywin replies. Even to speak of shame would bring unpardonable shame to Lannister name and pride.

“I would be both, if it were my father. Angry and ashamed both,” Aerys continues.

“Why should you be ashamed at all?” Steffon asks.

What does Steffon know of shame? Nothing at all, Tywin thinks, irritated by Steffon’s question. His father struts in court, a trusted member of the king’s council and the king’s own good-son besides, while Tywin’s father makes such a botch of ruling his own lands such that the king has to send his knights to restore peace and order in the westerlands. And who does His Grace appoint to lead those knights if not his trusted good-son Lord Baratheon? A stag roaming the westerlands under the dragon banners, all because that slumbering lion in Casterly Rock Tywin has to call “my lord father” is toothless and clawless, weak and pride-less.  

In his grandfather’s days, such a travesty would never have occurred. Gerold the Golden would never have brought such shame, ridicule and dishonor to House Lannister.

Steffon does not understand. He could never understand. He adores his father; too young to know any better, perhaps, but also by accident of birth fortunate enough to be spared the indignities of being the progeny of a father such as Lord Tytos.

Aerys pretends to understand. Aerys who claims to find his own father unsatisfactory in many ways.

“He’ll return safely, won’t he? My father,” Steffon frets, and he seems his real age for once, not the boy who is always trying to act and sound older than he is because his two closest companions are two and four years older, respectively.

“He’ll be safe enough. It’s not a real war,”Aerys says. “Only some outlaws and brigands.”

Outlaws and brigands have swords that can kill all the same, Tywin thinks. And young as he is, Steffon knows this too.

This is what comes of adoring, of loving. The fear of losing.

(AO3 Mirror)

vimeo
4

His aunt gave a sigh. “And speaking of the Seven, why would Cersei permit the Faith to arm again?”
Jaime shrugged. “I am certain she had reasons.”
“Reasons?” Lady Genna made a rude noise. “They had best be good reasons. The Swords and Stars troubled even the Targaryens. The Conqueror himself tread carefully with the Faith, so they would not oppose him. And when Aegon died and the lords rose up against his sons, both orders were in the thick of that rebellion. The more pious lords supported them, and many of the smallfolk. King Maegor finally had to put a bounty on them. He paid a dragon for the head of any unrepentant Warrior’s Son, and a silver stag for the scalp of a Poor Fellow, if I recall my history. Thousands were slain, but nigh as many still roamed the realm, defiant, until the Iron Throne slew Maegor and King Jaehaerys agreed to pardon all those who would set aside their swords.”

3950) I'm a 20 year old transman in a rather odd situation. I live with my stepmom and dad, who both support me (after 2 years of my coming out). My dad is sort of odd however, as he doesn't use pronouns or proper name, but he will get me clothes that fit my gender and over all interact with me as his son, except for strictly male environments (i.e. my brother's stag night). My stepmom for the most part tries, and will try to correct herself. My sisters both support me as their brother, my twin does not. My Christian brother is on the fence, while my other brother is supportive. For the most part all my friends and family are supportive and making an effort. Now here's where we get to the thorny part. My Christian birth mother. My mother is taking my transition like her child is dying. She gets upset if it gets brought up in conversation, and loves to emphasize how much my father dreamed of getting a daughter exactly like me. She tries to guilt me as much as possible and disapproves of me being male and dating another male (I'm bisexual and my boyfriend is ftm as well) and gets upset at me for having images of us on my Facebook. I just don't know what to do anymore to try to explain to her that I'm not dying. It's simply like I'm a cake, and I'm removing the wrong frosting, and putting on the correct frosting. It's just hard because I'm trying hard to be stealth while pre-t in college with all the bs going on and nobody to share it with.